My Youth

I read in the paper this morning a report where a citizen of Christchurch was called to account for his disgraceful behaviour by the Department of Child, Youth, and Family, that’s the (CYF) to you. His naughty action in their eyes was by allowing two of his children, aged nine and four, to play in a School Park Playground, and would you believe unsupervised. A commissioner no less from the CYF who ever he/she is, made a visit to their home to confront the parents, and advise them that a four year old and under the charge of a nine year old was not acceptable in their departments eyes to be left alone, unsupervised even in a playground. However, commissioner got a response that was not quite what expected. They were told in no uncertain terms to get lost. The family in question considered that it was the family’s responsibility to decide what was acceptable, and not the Governments. I don’t know who or what this organisation is, but it seems it’s another form of control. It’s large, we can see that, but one wonders exactly where this insidious form of control will end up. The former Government it seems had a price to pay to get it’s self elected, and it seem this organisation is part of that. This I imagine was another Hobby Horse from one the partners with votes who were hanging onto the coat tails of the Labour Party and required to form a ruling party. Thy probably had plans for many more of these ‘Control’ departments. Unfortunately for them, with the sweeping changes now being made by the new Government who have announced that these several thousand of these employees would shortly be without 200 hundred or so of their management staff for a start. These have all been deemed redundant, and it’s suggested that they look for another job.


They would have been very busy little ferrets if they were around in my youth. We were free to roam far and wide, the only proviso was that we turned up for dinner at night, and kept out of trouble. One would have thought that the CYF would have better employed looking after Playground and ensuring that they were safe. I think that this time they have got the cart before the horse.


Growing up, we had complete freedom of our town, we wandered far and wide exploring our domain. We didn’t have the luxury of playgrounds, and mostly played on the roads. We tested our courage by wandering into all the tunnels around Port Chalmers and even crawled through the narrow one that belonged to the Harbour board that pumped sand from Back Beach to Mussel Bay. We Climbed every tree of any size in the district. Crawled under the wharfs, as at low tide there was a rock base the wharfs were built on. My favourite spot was the fisherman’s punt where the fishing boats came to unload their catch. There were a lot of perks to be found there by assisting the fishermen. Sometimes we could hitch a ride on the Pilot Launch to take out the Pilot to a arriving ship or retrieve same from a vessel departing. Stevenson Cook moulding shop was another exciting visit to watch the pouring of molten metals into moulds. We hung around Captain Scoulay and were rewarded by the occasional trip in the Harbour Board Tug when the vessel was required for only a local berthing. He also owned a sailing dinghy and when he required ballast we enjoyed many exciting trips across the harbour to Portobello which always seemed to be a broad reach. I don’t think life jackets were invented then.


Another place of interest were the two engraving docks. Whenever a vessel was being berthed, we were on hand, to see what turned up when the water was pumped out. Always a variety of fish were trapped, and easily caught in the gutters that were now under the ship, exactly where we to be found.



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